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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Anger Management

Anybody can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power, is NOT easy.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Random Thought

 

Putih Bernoda

Sempurna itu tidak berarti hidup putih bersih tanpa noda. Itu bukan manusia namanya. Tidak ada siang tanpa malam. Tidak ada putihnya awan tanpa adanya langit biru yang menyatakannya. Kesempurnaan itu suatu keutuhan. Utuh berarti semua unsur itu ada, ya kelebihan, ya kekurangan. Tinggal bagaimana kita menjalinnya dalam kehidupan. Sehingga kelemahan menjadi kesempatan yang menampilkan kekuatan. Sehingga kekuatan menjadi kewaspadaan menghadapi segala sesuatu yang hanya bersifat sementara.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Random Thought

 

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Solusi Keledai untuk Urusan Kedelai

Akhirnya bisa makan tempe lagi. Akhir pekan lalu, di negeri yang sering menyebut diri sebagai “Bangsa Tempe” ini, tahu dan tempe menjadi barang langka. Kalau pun ada, harganya melambung. Ini gara-gara harga kedelai melonjak tajam, akibat kekeringan yang melanda benua Amerika – sebagai eksportir terbesar kedelai di Indonesia.

Aneh bin ajaib. Di negeri yang katanya gemah ripah loh jinawi ini ternyata kedelainya masih diimpor dari luar negeri. Dari Amerika Serikat pula. Makan tempe mendoan berasa makan steak sirloin kualitet premium, bahan bakunya sama-sama dikapalkan langsung dari luar negeri.

Seperti dilansir Reuters, harga kedelai di bursa berjangka Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) diperdagangkan US$16,66 per busher, turun 6% dari rekor tertinggi US$17,77 yang terjadi Jumat (20/7) lalu. Sedangkan komoditas jagung, yang juga digunakan sebagai bahan baku tambahan untuk tempe, diperdagangkan US$8 per busher, turun lebih dari 3% dari catatan rekor US$8,28.

Kekeringan paling parah selama setengah abad terakhir di AS ini telah menyebabkan kemerosotan produksi kedelai dan jagung. Pemerintah AS – yang merupakan pengekspor bahan pangan terbesar di dunia ini, mengkhawatirkan tak bisa memenuhi kebutuhan dunia. Khususnya untuk perusahaan pengolahan makanan, pengolahan pakan ternak, dan perusahaan pembuat bioetanol. Imbasnya, tentu saja merembet ke negara-negara pengimpor bahan pangan, seperti Indonesia.

Menurut kang Asep Nurdin, Ketua I Gabungan Koperasi Produsen Tempe Tahu Indonesia (Gakoptindo), harga kedelai di pasaran mencapai Rp7.000 hingga Rp8.000 per kilogram. Padahal, sebelumnya paling mahal hanya Rp5.500.

Walhasil, biaya produksi yang tadinya hanya berkisar Rp35.000 hingga Rp40.000, akhir pekan lalu melonjak menjadi Rp48.000. Dan, tahu tempe pun menghilang… Sebab, para perajin tahu dan tempe di sejumlah daerah sepakat mogok masal sejak Rabu hingga Jumat, 25-27 Juli 2012.

Tetiba saya ingat ketika masih di Jerman. Untuk mendapatkan tahu dan tempe, saya harus blusukan ke toko-toko Asia. Baru di minggu ketiga, saya berhasil menemukan toko yang menjual tahu dengan harga termurah. Untuk tahu berukuran 15 x 15 cm kalau dikurs ke rupiah harganya Rp24.000. Lebih dahsyat lagi, untuk mendapatkan tempe, saya harus naik kereta ke Belanda.

Indonesia adalah negeri ironi. Ketika masyarakatnya memilih untuk makan tahu dan tempe, tapi bahan baku utamanya justru diimpor dari luar negeri. Negeri yang mengaku negara agraris ini justru memiliki ketergantungan besar terhadap impor bahan pangan. Adanya ketergantungan kedelai dari luar negeri ini merupakan indikasi Indonesia tengah dilanda krisis pangan, meski pemerintah enggan mengakuinya.

Saat ini, kebutuhan kedelai Indonesia mencapai 2,2 juta ton per tahun. Namun, produksi dalam negeri baru bisa menyediakan sepertiganya saja, alias hanya 700.000 ton. Sisanya impor. Krisis kedelai berakhir ketika pemerintah akhirnya menyiapkan langkah taktis mengatasi permasalahan kelangkaan dan melambungnya harga kedelai saat ini. Salah satunya, dengan membebaskan tarif bea masuk untuk impor kedelai hingga akhir tahun. Tepok jidat!

 

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” (Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution)

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Random Thought

 

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Facebook: The challenges ahead for the social network

When Facebook first floated on the stock exchange earlier this year, it started out at an astronomical high, valued at over $100bn (£65bn). Since then, rockier times. From an initial share price of $38, Facebook’s stock dipped to below $29 in May.

This week, there comes another huge test for the site as it releases the financial results for its first quarter of public trading. It will show how the company is doing and offer a hint at its future performance.

BBC has asked four key expert: Jennifer Lynch (Privacy), Marcolm Barclay (Mobile), Graham Cluley (Security), and Carolina Milanesi (Speculation: FacebookPhone), for their views on where Facebook’s challenges lie in the coming months.

Privacy

Facebook’s acquisition of facial recognition software face.com is concerning from a privacy perspective for two reasons. First, it is unclear what Facebook intends to do with the facial recognition data face.com collected. Face.com has stated that its database includes over 30 billion face prints. If this data is combined with the facial scans from the 300 million images Facebook users upload every day, it would likely create the largest (and largest privately-owned) facial recognition database in the world.

The United States government regularly asks for copies of all photographs in which a user is tagged when it issues a warrant to Facebook. And government agencies in the States and abroad that are building out facial recognition databases have an interest in acquiring as many face images as possible. Face.com and Facebook’s combined data could become a honeypot for government if Facebook doesn’t take steps to protect it properly.

Second, as Facebook expands the tools face.com developed to use mobile devices to collect images and identify people, the security of the data becomes a real issue. Facebook must show it has adequate measures in place to protect both the integrity of the face recognition data and its users’ accounts from hacking and fraud.

Mobile

Ahead of going public, Facebook, itself, predicted it might struggle to make money from its mobile users who have been reluctant to engage with ads while on the go. If this is to ever change, argues independent app developer Malcolm Barclay, Facebook’s mobile offering needs to improve greatly.

The existing app suffers from endless loading, refresh problems and feels more like using a website from the late 90’s. To put it another way, it is like listening to a transistor radio. Rewriting it in a different programming language, Objective-C, will be more akin to surround sound, an experience people expect from their £400+ devices.

A rewrite in Objective-C is exactly what the Facebook app needs. Facebook’s existing app is written mostly in HTML5. It is a very promising and useful technology, but right now more suited to desktop web browsers. Objective-C is the native programming language of the iPhone. It can exploit all of its features, it is fast and has a tool kit of interface elements that users are familiar with.

So why did Facebook make the app in HTML5 in the first place? It was cheaper, HTML5 can run on many different devices (eg Android), hence it costs less to maintain and there’s no need to make separate apps. I doubt Facebook really benefited from this – users certainly did not. Last week Facebook purchased the developers at Acrylic, a tiny operation. Google did the same and acquired Sparrow, a very popular mail app for Mac & the iPhone – all of these apps are written in Objective-C. Reports suggest that Facebook has already begun working on rebuilding their app from the bottom up. I hope this is the case – experience matters.

Security

Want to see who has viewed your profile? There’s a Facebook app for that. But you shouldn’t be too quick to grant it permission to access your account. Rogue Facebook apps, created by internet scammers and cybercriminals, want to access your personal data, and hope to make money by luring you into following links. These apps run on the Facebook platform itself (don’t confuse them with the apps you run on your computer or smartphone), and – if you allow them – have access to your profile, your personal info, your photos..

The result is that you don’t know who you are sharing your information with, and who is going to access it. The apps can even present themselves as though they are entirely located on Facebook – even when hosted on third-party websites that could be under the control of any Tom, Dick and Harry. Most chilling of all, rogue Facebook apps can actually post messages in your name – tricking your online friends into thinking that it’s you spreading a link, which could be designed to infect their computers or steal further information.

Maybe Facebook should learn a lesson from Apple? Apple reviews all iPhone/iPad apps before they are allowed in the iOS App Store. That doesn’t just stop yet another fart app, it also makes it harder for hackers to spread dangerous code via this route. Whatever Apple is doing, it seems to be doing it right.

Not everyone may like Apple’s “walled garden” approach, but you cannot deny that it has kept the Apple iPhone a relatively safe place to be. Maybe Facebook should consider something similar. And maybe users need to think carefully about what data they upload to Facebook – that’s the one sure way of ensuring it is never grabbed by a rogue app.

Speculation: FacebookPhone?

Many have speculated that Facebook is looking at creating its own device – the so-called “Buffy” phone. Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Gartner, questions the logic behind any such predictions: “Speculations about a possible Facebook phone have been on and off for the past couple of years.

After the first round of rumours we saw mobile phone maker HTC bring to market the HTC Salsa and the HTC ChaCha. Both had dedicated Facebook keys and both saw only modest sales. So why would Facebook come out with its own phone? I struggle to see why it would. Although social is a key part of today’s mobile life for many consumers, only a sub-set of users would actually want a phone that totally centres on social networking.

Users would also not compromise on the specifications of the hardware, meaning that Facebook would have to bring to market a device comparable to a high-end Android phone in order to be taken seriously. Manufacturing costs would likely be too high to be covered by advertising revenue.

The reality is that most consumers are perfectly happy with an app on their current phone. We believe that a deeper integration of Facebook on the current operating systems iOS, Android and Windows Phone will deliver a much wider addressable market to Facebook than not a dedicated phone. And what is social about if not the mass market?

If we put rumours aside for a second and we look at the facts, we know that Facebook is to be integrated more tightly with Apple’s next mobile operating system, iOS 6. One has to wonder if Apple would have made such a decision if the possibility of a Facebook phone was actually on the horizon.”

(As published on bbc.co.uk, updated July 25, 2012)

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Dunia Dalam Berita

 

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Farmville company Zynga’s results disappointing

Shares in Zynga, the social gaming company behind Farmville, have fallen as much as 40% in after-hours trading following disappointing results.

It reported a net loss of $108m (£70m) for the first six months of the year, compared with a profit of $18m for the first half of 2011. It slashed its forecast for full year earnings to between 4 and 9 cents a share from 23 to 29 cents. It took the shares close to $3, well below December’s $10 flotation price.

Shares in Facebook also fell following the announcements from Zynga. Its games account for about 15% of Facebook’s revenues. Facebook releases its own quarterly results on Thursday. Zynga blamed its lowered outlook on delays in launching new games, a faster-than-expected decline in existing games and “reduced expectations for Draw Something”.

Zynga bought Draw Something for $200m earlier in the year.

(As published on bbc.co.uk on July 25, 2012)

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Dunia Dalam Berita

 

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Shuffling Song. Shuffling Life

Teknologi pemutar musik mengalami evolusi. Makin lama makin kecil dan makin tipis. Di era 1980an, pemuda yang gemar main break dance (saya sengaja menghindari kosa kata ABG untuk mereka yang masih muda di masa itu) selalu menenteng tape segede gaban. Tak jarang, mereka memanggul tape di pundak, persis seperti kaum udik yang baru turun bus di terminal Kampung Rambutan.

Di era 1990an, pecinta musik sudah merasakan nikmatnya walkman. Mereka tak perlu lagi memanggul tape yang speaker-nya tepat menghadap kuping. Cukup selipkan earphone di kuping (namanya juga ear-phone, kalo di gigi ya tooth-phone hehehe..), lalu dengarkan musik. Bisa joget-joget sepuasnya. Karena tangan tak perlu memegang walkman. Alat pemutar kaset itu cukup diselipkan di ikat pinggang.

Sebagai manusia yang alhamdulillah masih diberi kehidupan di era 2010an, saya amat menyenangi MP3 player, entah itu yang tertanam di ponsel atau ‘berdiri sendiri’. Alat segede korek api itu bisa menyimpan ratusan lagu. Lupakan saja kaset atau CD yang mentok cuma bisa menampung 15 lagu. Terima kasih tak terhingga untuk Dr. Karlheinz Brandenburg sang penemu format MP3.

MP3 player setia menemani perjalanan saya. Sebagai roker yang sering menjadi pepes di kotak berpendingin, ‘sumpel kuping’ yang tertaut di MP3 merupakan hiburan menarik. Pasang musik, merem sambil bergelantungan, dan nikmati perjalanan. Saking penuh sesaknya, tangan saya sering tak bisa bergerak untuk memilih lagu yang ingin didengarkan. Pasrah saja. Tergantung si ‘denmas’ Shuffle memilihkan lagu untuk saya.

Suka tersenyum sendiri kalau susunan lagu kebetulan menjadi acak adul. Bayangkan, dari Someone Like You yang super mellow kemudian beat-nya berubah jingkrak-jingkrak di Mr. Saxobeat dan blast to the past lewat Enter Sadman-nya Metalica atau I Live My Life For You milik Firehouse. Untung saya memilih lagu yang memang pas di hati. Tak harus lagu dengan lirik dan nada berkualitas tinggi. Kadang lagu norak pun masuk playlist, selama enak didengar (lagu Kereta Malam yang aslinya punya bang haji Rhoma Irama tapi dibikin versi dangdut koplo? Ada!). Mau genre apa aja, dari tahun berapa aja, ada. Tapi, itu memang gunanya fasilitas shuffling song kan? Memutar musik secara acak.

Seperti halnya hidup. Sang Pemilik Hidup sudah mengisi playlist hidup kita dengan serentetan kisah, mulai yang menye-menye, ajeb-ajeb, sampai yang genjreng-genjreng. Lengkap. Begitu DIA mengaktifkan fasilitas Shuffle, kita harus menerima kisah hidup secara acak. Kadang senang, kadang sedih. Kadang bete, kadang galau, kadang biasa-biasa saja. Random.

Tapi, seberapa acak hidup kita, percaya saja kalau DIA sudah memilihkan kisah yang terbaik untuk kita, meski tak selalu sesuai selera kita. Suka atau tidak suka itu soal selera bukan? Kalau kata DIA itu yang terbaik untuk, terima saja dulu – meski sebenarnya kita ‘risih’ dan ingin segera mengganti pilihan. Siapa tahu kita akan terbiasa dan menjadi suka dengan apa yang telah DIA pilihkan untuk kita, setidaknya untuk saat ini. Sabar saja.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Random Thought

 

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Suatu sore di jembatan penyeberangan…

perempuan tua

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Random Thought